Parents would never want to be away from their babies. In fact, if given the chance, they would want to be with their babies 24/7. Unfortunately, people need to work. There may be home-based work available nowadays, but it still requires staying in one area of the house while your kid is in another. Worry no more. The advent of technology paved the way for baby monitors to help set parent’s minds at ease. Today, we will take a closer look at Motorola video baby monitors.
This article on the Motorola baby monitor reviews not just the Motorola brand but will also look at the Samsung baby monitor as a way of comparison. This article will try to address all the basic questions you need to know about baby monitors. This is to ensure that parents will have an idea of what to expect in the baby monitor industry.
The History of Baby Monitor
Before jumping into the wagon of baby monitor products, it is perhaps a great start to look at how baby monitors came to be. The baby monitor, also known as the baby alarm is a product that uses radio frequency to listen to sounds made by babies from afar. The first baby monitor was called the Radio Nurse and was introduced to the market in 1937. The usual baby monitor has a transmitter unit and a microphone and is placed near the baby.
The microphone catches the sound the baby makes and transfers this to the receiver unit through radio waves. What started as a one-way radio communication eventually became two-way. This gives the caregiver the chance to speak back to the baby or sing a lullaby or two even from a different area of the house. Some baby monitors also contain pre-recorded lullabies to lull the baby to sleep.
Initially, baby monitors are audio monitors but eventually video monitors or baby cams were introduced to the market as well. Such monitors offer not only audio control but video capture as well. Baby monitors also come in wired and wireless forms. Some are also accessible through smartphones. Motorola video baby monitor Ipad-viewable models were also introduced in the market for the high-tech parents of today.
A Closer Look at Baby Monitor
Motorola offers a series of baby monitors that parents can choose from. Some of them employ audio monitoring only while others possess both audio and video capabilities. You can go thru all of them one by one.
Video Baby Monitors
First on this Motorola video baby monitor review’s list is the Motorola mbp15 baby monitor. This baby monitor has an approximate range of 300 meters, giving you enough space to roam around the house without worrying that you’d miss your baby’s cry. It also has an out-of-range warning sound to let you know if you are outside the acceptable range. Despite the long range, this baby monitor emits crystal clear sound and has a highly sensitive microphone to catch even the slightest sound in the room. This monitor also has 5 pre-recorded lullabies and a star-like night light that can help your baby sleep. The parent unit uses rechargeable batteries with a belt clip, although the baby unit needs to be constantly connected to electricity.
In addition to the mbp15 unit, there is the Motorola baby monitor MBP33. This one combines radio and Wi-Fi connectivity. This Motorola baby monitor Wi-Fi capable model uses 2.4 GHz Digital Wireless technology with night vision capability. The MBP33 wireless video baby monitor has a 2.8-inch colored monitor with two-way audio communication. The room temperature is also displayed on the screen. Just like the mbp15 model, the mbp33 model has 5 pre-recorded lullabies. It also has 5 LED alerts to indicate the noise level in the room. Unfortunately, unlike the 300-meter range of the mbp15, the mbp33’s range is 100 meters shorter. It has a 200-meter range with the same out-of-range warning system.
A newer version of this model is the MBP33S Digital Wireless video baby monitor. Another member of the mbp33 series is the MBP33/2 Wireless video baby monitor with Two Cameras. The name itself implies that this baby monitor contains two cameras, the purpose of which is to ensure a wider coverage to monitor your baby’s movement and sound. The Motorola video baby monitor MBP28 possesses a smaller screen at 1.8 inches. It, however, uses the DECT (or Digitally Enhanced Cordless Technology) wireless technology and has a range of approximately 490 feet (equivalent to 149 meters). The MBP28 digital wireless video baby monitor uses infrared night vision and as an added feature, has a low battery indicator to ensure that it is always charged when needed. This baby monitor also supports two- way communication and has a belt clip (for the parent unit) for easier carrying.
The newer model (MBP28/2 Digital Wireless video baby monitor) boasts of twin cameras that you can place in two separate locations for a wider scope of view within your baby’s room. The Motorola video baby monitor mbp20 possesses an even smaller screen at 1.5 inches, with the same infrared vision capability as the mbp28 series. This baby monitor has a 200-meter range and as always, an out-of-range warning mechanism. This machine encrypts the audio data that it transmits as a bonus for protection. Unfortunately, it only contains three prerecorded polyphonic lullabies – but who needs more anyway? Three are enough to lull your baby to sleep.
Plus, since this unit also uses two-way communication, you can sing directly to your baby if the lullabies are not enough for him or her. MBP18 Digital Wireless video baby monitor is another offering from Motorola. This baby monitor has a 2.4GHz FHSS wireless technology and allows pairing of up to 4 baby monitors to one parent unit. Ideally this baby monitor has a 520ft range (more or less equivalent to 158 meters), provided there are no obstructions between the parent and baby units. If it is located indoors, this baby monitor’s range is typically at 100ft or 30 meters. This baby monitor also employs infrared night vision with a highly sensitive microphone to catch even the slightest cry or coo of your baby.
The MBP26 Digital Wireless video baby monitor has a bigger colored screen at 2.4 inches. In addition to that, this monitor also uses the same infrared night vision capability as the other units plus an additional optical pan and tilt camera capability. The parent unit of this baby monitor series can be paired up with up to four (4) baby units. You just need to buy add-on baby units when you need to since the original package only contains a pair – the baby unit and the parent unit.
There are several other models one can choose from. You may also want to consider the MBP36 Remote Wireless video baby monitor. The Motorola video baby monitor MBP36 boasts a colored LCD screen, with the usual infrared night vision capability and as a bonus, the sound indicator light. Now you are assured that you would not miss out on anything your baby does or says since the slightest sound can trigger the light on the parent unit. The lights will catch anyone’s attention immediately. This baby monitor also offers videos at speeds of 25 frames per second. The Motorola baby monitor, mbp36 full-color LCD, is still compact at 3.5 inches, but it’s bigger than the usual video baby monitors.
The MBP36/2 Wireless video baby monitor with Two Cameras possesses the same capabilities – only doubled. You do have to check, however, if the additional cameras are compatible with the parent unit. For that, you have to check the Motorola baby monitor manual. Other wireless baby monitors include the MBP34 Wireless video baby monitor, MBP41 Remote Wireless video baby monitor, MBP43-2 Remote Wireless video baby monitor with Two Cameras, and the MBP34T Baby Monitor.
Now, it’s time to proceed to the audio baby monitor choices available today.
Audio Baby Monitors
Think you’ve had enough? Think again. Sometimes, finances and space can be a hindrance. Video baby monitors eat up a lot of space and can be costly. Still, this shouldn’t stop you from giving the best care for your baby. There are several other models that responsible parents with tight budgets can choose from. There are also audio baby monitors that may not have the screen for video viewing but still possess the same audio mechanism as the others in the batch.
First on the list of audio monitors is the MBP10S Digital Audio Baby Monitor. It is equipped with 1.9 GHz DECT Technology and data encryption for security. The parent unit of this baby monitor contains 5 LED alerts whose light is activated by sounds, giving you the assurance that your baby is safe. This digital audio baby monitor has a range of up to 300 meters; it’s also equipped with an out-of-range warning. This same mechanism is applied to the MBP11 Digital Audio Baby Monitor (nicknamed Mother care), MBP16 Digital Audio Baby Monitor, MBP7 Digital Audio Baby Monitor and MBP8 Digital Audio Baby Monitor. The DECT technology these baby monitors offer ensures smooth connection with little to no disconnection in transmission.
SCOUT1500 Digital Wireless Video Pet Monitor
Motorola also offers baby monitors for pet lovers to ensure that their other “babies” are also monitored and protected from harm. The Scout1500 pet monitor is a remote Wi-Fi video pet monitor camera that can be used either indoor or outdoor. This video camera can be accessed through any Apple or Android smartphone which means you can monitor your pet from anywhere in the world.
It can turn any internet-enabled device into a fully functional pet monitor with just a click of the button. All you need to do is download the application to your smartphone, create an account, and log in. This video recording camera allows up to 25 frames per second playback. You can also remotely tilt, pan, or move the video camera to watch your pet in action. You can also take snapshots of your pet, with him in the house and you somewhere else. Just like the usual baby monitors, this video pet monitor also uses two-way communication, you can hear your pet, and your pet can hear you too.
How to Choose Your Unit
Now that you have a list of possible baby monitors available on the market, it is only appropriate to trim it down to the one. In choosing the perfect unit, you should consider several factors.
First and foremost, you have to consider sound emission. A baby monitor’s purpose is to ensure that your baby is safe and sound in his or her room and that you are constantly updated while you do your chores at home. When it comes to sound emission there, you can either go analog or digital. Analog monitors cost less than digital ones. If you are on a tight budget, the price is very important.
You do have to remember, however, that analog devices use radio waves. Anyone carrying radio devices and is within the frequency’s range can intercept and listen in to the conversation. Digital monitors, on the other hand, although costly, is the safer option, since the audio recordings are converted into data before being transmitted to the parent unit, giving the user assurance that no one besides the intended receiver will be able to hear the conversation or the sound from the baby unit.
Second, you have to choose between audio or video monitors (see the choices above). Again, if you are on a tight budget, you can go audio since such baby monitors are less expensive. Audio baby monitors also eat up less space since they don’t have a lot of components. Video monitors, on the other hand, cost more compared to audio ones. Aside from the price, video baby monitors also include more parts and obviously require a much bigger space.
However, regarding options, video baby monitors have more to offer than the audio ones. You can choose between different screen sizes on top of infrared night vision capability. Infrared vision is important since you would not need to turn the lights on just to check on your baby.
Third, you should consider the radio frequency. The most commonly used frequency is 49 megahertz, but it covers a smaller range compared to others. Next would be 900 megahertz, which offers a longer range and is the most common frequency for any radio communication device. However, this frequency is also the same frequency used by older cordless phones which means interference from such devices is inevitable.
With the advent of technology, baby monitors nowadays employ the 2.4 GHz frequency that offers the longest range so far although interference-wise, newer cordless phones also use the frequency, so there is still that possibility of other people listening in – either accidentally or on purpose. This is the reason the third thing to consider is security.
When choosing the frequency, you might also need to consider the security feature of your baby monitor. Look for baby monitors using the DECT technology. This technology contains encryption features that are very important when dealing with radio devices. This encryption makes sure that no one aside from the intended listener would be able to access the recordings. This is not limited to audio recordings, though. The DECT technology ensures that video data is encrypted as well. No one can use the video images from your home when they don’t have access to it (for security measures read below).
Fourth, you should consider the size of your room and the baby monitor of your choice. A smaller, more compact parent unit is easier to carry than a bulky, big one. Some baby monitors also come with belt clips for that hands-free experience. You also need to check the wirings and cords of your transmitters since they are the ones located in your baby’s room. Doing so will ensure that accidents and unnecessary emergencies are avoided. Some baby monitors nowadays use completely wireless technology and can be accessed through smartphones and tablets.
Fifth, you should look for a baby monitor that has a low battery indicator. This ensures that you will not miss your baby’s cry or even his or her first song, word or laugh because your battery ran out. In addition to that, you should also consider a baby monitor with sound activated light. A flashing parent unit is something you simply cannot miss even if you’re doing all kinds of chores.
Lastly, consider buying a baby monitor with multiple transmitters as well as multiple receivers. It is like hitting two birds with one stone. You and your husband (or wife or partner) can each have a receiver, or you can leave one in your room and carry the other around the house and still not miss out on anything. Multiple transmitters also ensure that you are monitoring not just your baby but all your babies in the house. Multiple cameras also ensure a wider range of video coverage and, as they say, the wider, the better.
Now that you have decided on what unit to buy, the next thing on the list is to know how to set it up properly. You may have the most technologically advanced apparatus but if it is poorly set up, everything will go to waste.
Installing Your Baby Monitor for the First Time
After carefully considering which monitor you would buy for your baby, the next thing you need to become familiar with setting up the baby monitor. Motorola video baby monitor instructions are usually included in the manual that comes with the package but just to be safe, here are some things you need to remember when installing the monitor for the first time:
One, check and make sure that you have the complete package in the box. Usually, a full set includes one baby unit, one parent unit, a rechargeable battery for the parent unit, a Motorola video baby monitor charger (or audio) for the parent unit, and a power adapter for the baby unit. Should you be missing out on any of those mentioned above, make sure to check with the manufacturer. It may be tempting to buy the extras in a DIY shop but do make sure that you will be using a compatible add-on to ensure that your baby monitor will work smoothly and accurately. Make sure everything is complete before setting your unit up.
Decide on the location of your transmitter. This is very important since any blockage or hindrance can defeat the purpose of this equipment. You may also need to consider interferences caused by other gadgets employing radio waves. Gadgets such as cordless phones can intercept the baby monitor’s signal and should be avoided. You also have to ensure that your transmitter (baby unit) will always have a power source nearby.
It almost always needs to be plugged on to its electric source; thus you might need to delegate a separate socket for it to avoid overheating. The parent unit has a rechargeable battery, but the baby unit does not have one. Ideally, your transmitter should be within the 5 to 10 feet range from the baby crib to ensure the transmitter can properly pick up sounds. The video camera (or cameras) should be placed in such a way that it can scan the whole room with ease. Other installation requirements are identified in the manual so before setting the monitor up, make sure to read the manual thoroughly.
You also need to familiarize yourself with the buttons found in both parent and baby units. The most common buttons include the power button, the audio level button, direction button, the pan, tilt and zoom buttons, as well as the night vision button. It is obvious that the first button you need to know is the power button. You should familiarize yourself with the power button, which is usually located on the side of the device. Make sure to ask the sales clerk if you are unsure where it is located. Familiarize yourself with the buttons and the schematic diagram of the device, which is usually found in the manual as well. Never, ever throw the manual away.
Safety Precautions in using Baby Monitors
Any responsible parent or caregiver should consider the following safety precautions to ensure that no harm will come their baby’s way because of baby monitors and baby monitor accidents. First and foremost, check the location of all monitors and transmitters. Make sure that all products with electrical cords –and this includes products mounted on the wall- are well placed and out of reach of your baby.
Dangling cords should be tucked in properly to avoid accidental strangling. As much as possible, set the cord at least 2 to 3 feet from your baby’s bed, crib or bassinet. This should also be the safe distance when setting up your monitor in your baby’s play yard or any sleeping environment. As tempting as it may seem, never place your baby monitor inside your baby’s crib or on the edge of the crib. Look for a flat surface where you can mount your camera. You can choose the dresser, a bureau, or a shelf in your baby’s room.
The advent of wireless technology also poses a great threat to your baby’s safety online – well, not only your baby’s but your house and yourself as well. Since there are wireless baby monitors that can be accessed thru Wi-Fi, you should ensure that you are protecting your unit from unauthorized access through the World Wide Web. Here are some tips that you can follow to protect you and your baby:
Consider going digital rather than analog. Digital monitors are encrypted, and password protected as compared the analog ones that work on open radio frequencies, which can be intercepted by anyone with radio devices.
Customize your password. Default passwords are easily hacked since they are generic and almost the same for every password-enabled device. Never use personal details as passwords (like your birthday, full name, and the like). Use random letters and numbers and be sure never to share them with anyone.
Install a firewall between your internet connection and all your internet-enabled devices. Hire a professional if things seem to complicated.
Turn your device off when not in use.
Aside from those mentioned above, the manufacturer has the following safety reminders any baby monitor owner should know:
First of all, the baby monitor requires assembly and contains small parts that may be hazardous when swallowed. It is, therefore, important that your baby is not around when you are assembling your device. Keep an eye for small parts and make sure that they are securely attached to the device. Second, never let your children play with your baby monitor. This also applies to other members of your family.
Some baby monitors look like ordinary radio toys and thus, it is tempting to play with them. Baby monitors are not toys but are electronic devices – never, ever forget that. Third, although it is an aid, never treat the baby monitor as a substitute for adult supervision. Never leave your baby in the hands of your baby monitor. Check on your baby constantly if possible and never solely rely on images transmitted by your baby cam.
Fourth, do not place a towel or blanket to cover your monitor, nor place it near water or on a hot surface. Just like any electronic device, mishandling or placing the baby monitor in unsuitable locations can lead to damage. Lastly, always use the prescribed batteries, plugs or adapters that come with the unit. This ensures that the device will work well. Using non-issued ones may cause damage to the unit, as well as to the battery pack. It can also start a fire or can cause electrocution.
As part of safety precaution, you must also be aware of the proper way to dispose of the device when it had served its purpose or when it no longer functions the way it should. Never dispose of the part of the baby monitor as if it is a normal household waste. You may need to go through a certain collection point for recycling and proper disposal, especially of electrical and electronic equipment. Dispose of the batteries properly so as not to cause both environmental and safety concerns.
Taking Care of Your Baby Monitors
Since baby monitors are quite expensive, you have to make sure that you protect your investments and protect them well. Here are some tips you should remember when cleaning your baby monitor. First of all, never use thinners, solvents or any other chemical when cleaning your baby monitor. Such liquids can cause permanent damage to your unit and as such, any damage they cause is not covered by the warranty.
If you need to clean your monitor, you might want to use a slightly damp cloth. You can also use an anti-static cloth that is often used for cars and vehicles as well. Second, never leave your baby monitor in hot, humid or wet places. Avoid water as much as possible since it can cause the unit to short circuit. Lastly, never try to fix your unit on your own. You may cause more damage than what is there to begin with. If simple troubleshooting didn’t do anything to fix the problem, it’s time to find an authorized service center. Never attempt to open the unit.
The section below is devoted to the three most common problems with baby monitors and how to quickly fix them before calling for help. Again, when simple troubleshooting was not enough, find a repairman to help you.
Troubleshooting your baby monitors
The most common baby monitor problem includes Motorola video baby monitor night vision not working, the screen shows no display, there are unnecessary sounds, or the baby unit has lost its link with the parent unit. This section will try to help you solve these mysteries before you go crazy and buy another unit.
Problem number 1: Night Vision is not working
Solution: You may need to adjust the quality of the display by improving the ambient light in the baby’s room. You may also need to adjust the brightness level on the parent unit to clearly see the image.
Problem number 2: There is no display
Solution: check your batteries. Sometimes, displays don’t work since there is no more juice to support the electrical needs of your monitor. In case you’ve checked and found out that battery was not the problem do any of the following:
Reset your unit. You can do so by removing the battery pack of your parent unit, as well as unplugging your baby unit from its energy source. Let the unit rest for a bit before plugging it back in and checking. This should solve your problem.
Turn your unit on. People often time freak out over several things when all we need to do is check if it is on. So before going ballistic and rummaging through your box for the technical support number of your manufacturer, press the power button on and off.
Check the camera setting. This one works if you have more than one transmitter for your parent unit. You might be looking at the wrong camera. Change the camera number when necessary and see if anything has changed.
Is the video display turned on? Again check before you freak out.
Remember the 2-minute rule. To save on battery power, baby monitors are scheduled to sleep and turn their video display off after two minutes of idle time. Although the display is turned off, the baby monitor functions just the same. All you need to do is press any button to awaken your sleeping monitor.
Problem number 3: The link is gone
Solution: You may need to recharge or replace the batteries. The inability to connect to the baby unit may simply be because of loss of energy. It may also be that the baby unit or the parent unit is too far away from the acceptable range for the unit. If this is the case, you may need to step back a little until the signal link is established. Still didn’t work? Try resetting your unit by removing the batteries or unplugging the unit and waiting for 15 seconds before reestablishing connections. Resetting may require you to reestablish the connection between the baby and the parent and to do so, check your manual for the correct procedure.
Problem number 4: The odd noises
Solution: it may simply be because the two units are within 2 feet from one another. Audio feedback occurs when two units are within each other’s close range. It can also be because the baby unit is outside the acceptable range of distance between the two units. If that would be the case, you should try to move nearer to each other.
You may also need to stay away from other electronic devices such as television, cordless or wireless phones, mobile phones and the likes. You may have to turn these gadgets off when it seems like they’re causing the interference. Lastly, you may want to consider moving your parent unit and baby unit around the room or house. It is also possible for weak signals to cause unnecessary, and sometimes irritating, noises coming from either parent or baby unit.
A baby monitor assessment and review will not be complete without a discussion on add-ons one can choose from to enhance his or her experience of this baby product. The market has several cameras to offer for those who want multiple transmitters for their baby monitors. Wi-Fi enabled video baby monitors such as the following make monitoring babies, seniors, and pets easier than ever:
- Wi-Fi video baby monitor Camera (Model: BLINK1-B)
- Wi-Fi video baby monitor Camera (Model: BLINK1-BLK)
- Wi-Fi video baby monitor Camera (Model: BLINK1-R)
- Wi-Fi video baby monitor Camera (Model: BLINK1-S)
- Wi-Fi video baby monitor Camera (Model: BLINK1-W)
All these Wi-Fi video baby monitors require internet access for that live video and audio capability. They are all compatible with all sorts of smartphones, tablets, desktops, laptops and other electronic devices that have Wi-Fi access. Smartphones with mobile data capabilities can also access these cameras through 3G, 4G or LTE although their respective carriers may charge extra for this access.
All one needs to do is download the free application from Itunes or Google Play and create an account to log in. Monitoring is free through this app, and one can control the camera to pan remotely, tilt and zoom. These cameras also possess infrared night vision with multiple camera connection capabilities.
Motorola Vs Samsung Baby Monitors
Lastly, in the spirit of being fair and just, this review also covers a comparison between the two most common baby monitor brands in the market. The whole article was mostly devoted to Motorola baby monitors but the last section is given to Samsung baby monitors and how are they in comparison to Motorola’s product line.
First of all, both Motorola and Samsung employ digital sound quality in their current lineups. Gone were the days of analog devices. At this point, both companies addressed the security threat posed by analog devices. Second, both Samsung and Motorola baby monitors operate within the same frequency range of no more than 300 meters.
They tend to be generous regarding range since they consider factors such as walls, floor materials and the like. Third, both are yet to address the issue of baby units constantly having to be attached to electronic sockets. They both provide rechargeable batteries for the parent unit but still use power adapters for the receiver or baby units. Samsung, so far, offers two audio baby monitors and seven video baby monitors. Motorola offers six audio baby monitors and eight video ones.
Well, given all those bits of info, it’s quite reassuring that both brands offer a lot of perks, making it easier for parents to find something that truly suits their needs and preferences.